* Posts by Martin

907 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

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Ladies in tech, have you considered not letting us know you're female?

Martin

Re: There is a significant problem in getting women to get tech degrees

It's also the case that in the very early days of computing, programming was considered to be an admin job, hence it was done by women. It was only later that it was realized that actually, it's a bit harder (and more interesting) than just a straight admin job, so obviously it should be done by more competent men.

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Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

Martin
Happy

I was in Sydney fairly recently, on an escalator. I stood on the right, like a good little Londoner. Turns out in Sydney, you stand on the left and walk on the right. And unlike London, there are no signs to tell you - you just have to know.

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Martin
FAIL

Re: Cabbage

"What's the harm?"

There's a reason why most people on the tube are normally either deep in a book or the newspaper, playing with their phone, or listening to something on headphones. It's to get through the journey as quickly as possible, while disturbing as few people as possible. And two (or more) people having a "chat" is not a chat - it's a public conversation with everyone in the immediate vicinity being forced to listen to it, whether or not they want to.

God knows the tube is stressful enough at rush hour, without people "chatting" all around us.

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Brexit at the next junction: Verity's guide to key post-vote skills

Martin

Re: Guineas

I thought the point of the guinea is that you paid for the services of your lawyer/accountant/whatever in guineas - he kept the pounds and paid the shillings to his clerk.

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Height of stupidity: Heathrow airliner buzzed by drone at 7,000ft

Martin
Facepalm

Cue loads of people saying...

"...a drone can't damage an aircraft."

Perhaps they might even be right. But the fact remains that it's still a stupid thing to do. If one person does it, and posts cool footage on YouTube, then next time it might be two; or three; or ten; or twenty; or fifty - and suddenly it is ridiculously dangerous.

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Isis crisis: Facebook makes Bristol lass an unperson

Martin
WTF?

This one fooled me for a while...

Tried to write a comment on a web site a couple of weeks ago - it was blocked. After a bit of messing around, I discovered the word "Saturday" had fallen foul of the filter. Saturday?

Took me a while to identify sa - turd - ay....

Not one I've ever come across before.

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Third OnePlus flagship: £309

Martin
FAIL

No obvious shortcomings...

....apart from the fact that it's flippin' huge!

What happened to normal-sized phones?

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Sophos U-turns on lack of .bat file blocking after El Reg intervenes

Martin
Windows

Where's the old geezer icon when you need it...

There you go!

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Oz PM's department red-faced after database leaks in the cc: field

Martin
FAIL

But it shouldn't be POSSIBLE to send an email with multiple external email addresses in the cc: line.

It's not digital illiteracy - it's incompetent IT.

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Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

Martin
Headmaster

So they're basically asking the UK to buy their car booty...

I'm quite impressed that you managed to get two different wrong usages of "there" in one short sentence.

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Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

Martin

"Whereas assault, ABH, wife-beating etc. all result in a small fine."

And shoplifting from a supermarket gets twenty weeks. Yeah, right.

Citation needed. The Daily Mail editorial pages does not count as a citation.

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'Knucklehead' Kansas bloke shoots self in foot

Martin

Re: +Gordon 10

So a tinker's dam is a shoddy solder joint? Really?

Then why do people say in my part of the world that they don't give a tinker's cuss?

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UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

Martin
Happy

Some things never change...

When I graduated back in 1976, I had a degree in Mathematical Physics, rather than Computer Science. During my first couple of years, I found that new graddies with CS degrees frequently had to spend the first few months of their career unlearning the bad habits they'd been taught at uni.

There were some exceptions - Hatfield Poly in particular produced excellent CS graduates, if my memory serves me right.

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Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network

Martin

Re: Bruce Schneier

Me, I never type any password into a phone for anything important.

But I use a password safe and good old copy'n'paste if I do need to type a password on my phone.

So despite the Reg's sarcasm, I actually think that the advice is sensible. I use 12-char randomly generated passwords and a password safe.

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Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Martin

Re: Self organising team

Indeed.

In my whole career, I have never once met a manager who has learned the trick of the second part.

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UK govt admits it pulled 10-year file-sharing jail sentence out of its arse

Martin
WTF?

Re: @sikejsudjek

"When caught and tried for this heinous crime they were sentenced to 30 years each."

Bear in mind they were not just robbers - they were armed violent criminals who beat up the train driver and at least two other people. It actually was a heinous crime.

"This sentence, which was far more than usually given for murder, shocked the UK."

Murder was then, as now, a mandatory life sentence, with a recommendation for a minimum term. Thirty years, though significant, is less than life. And they all served far less than thirty years. And did the sentences really "shock the UK"? Any evidence for that?

"The result was that, knowing that the judges might be very harsh on robbers, the perpetrators started killing those police officers and members of the public trying to stop or arrest them."

Do you have any actual evidence for this remarkable assertion?

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Martin
Happy

Re: ...

Well, at least I can't prove that one is wrong, as I assume it was originally in French, and I'm not an expert on French Philosophers.

It may well be right. But I'd still like a little more evidence.

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Martin
FAIL

Re: ...

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I know Alice pretty well, and I am sure that phrase does not appear anywhere in it. But it's always good to check...good old Gutenburg.

And what do you know - the word "imagination" does not appear anywhere in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or in Through the Looking Glass.

It's interesting that the phrase appears all over the internet - most people believe that it's said by the Cheshire Cat. But it ain't.

So, it's quite a nice phrase - it might even be Lewis Carroll - but it's nothing to do with Alice.

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Utah declares 'war on smut'

Martin
Happy

Reminds me...

...of the time when the USSR were trying to launch a war against alcohol. Mikhail Tal, a brilliant chess player who also liked his tipple, was heard to say "The State against vodka? I'll be on the side of vodka!"

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BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

Martin

Re: Appalling!

Hmmm. Mont Blanc are to pens what Bang and Olufsson are to audio - very good, but overpriced. Sort of thing a beancounter would buy really. So, no sympathy here.

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Let’s re-invent small phones! Small screens! And rubber buttons!

Martin
Pint

Re: Small != Small

It's *not* true that men want only one thing. We want dinner too.

And beer.

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Microsoft's equality and diversity: Skimpy schoolgirls dancing for nerds at an Xbox party

Martin

Re: Sex is a marketing way to sell stuff? What a news!

Bloaky1 - you really really needed the Joke icon.

I liked the pun, but I think a lot of people missed it...

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UK plans robo-car tests on motorways in 2017

Martin
Happy

British driverless cars

Two British driverless cars approach a junction at the same time.

"After you."

"No, after you."

"No, I insist, please go ahead"

....

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

Martin
Happy

Obligatory Dilbert

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-07-26

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Bill Gates can’t give it away... Still crazy rich after all these years

Martin
Happy

Bill has better hair and a less annoying voice [than Trump].

That's hardly setting a high bar, is it.

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Windows Phone devs earn double what poor Android devs pocket

Martin
Headmaster

Re: Average?

Nah - doesn't need to be. The "average" is probably a mean, which is a very poor average to use for something like this.

It's like the "average bonus" figure that's given for an Investment Bank every year. It's normally something ridiculously huge, but it's massively skewed by a very few very high bonuses - and 99% of the people who get a bonus get below the average.

Similarly, a few ultra-successful apps (Flappy Birds being one such example) skew the average figure.

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My devil-possessed smartphone tried to emasculate me

Martin
Pint

Chewed Moolah Bells

“I’m sorry, I cannot play with chewed moolah bells by your coal field.”

No, dickhead, I said Tubular Bells by oh never mind I’ll do it myself you cretinous, steaming pile of over-rated development failure.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just brilliant. Laughed out loud. Have a virtual pint.

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Hands on with Xiaomi's Mi 5: Great smartphone, but when do we get it?

Martin
Thumb Up

Re: Too big...

Thanks - bit late now, as I already bought a Z5 (which I like). But I'll keep that gsmarena search in mind for next time...!

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Martin
FAIL

Too big...

If you want a 4.5" or less phone these days, it's got to be either the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, or....er, that's pretty well it.

I can't be the only one who wants a phone I can use with one hand.

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Android users installed 2 BILLION data-stealing, backdooring apps

Martin
Headmaster

Re: Agree about Samsung

how other users FARE with it

fair - noun: place with roundabouts

fair - adjective: even, just; also colour of hair

fare - verb: get on with, manage

fare - noun: food etc; also amount paid for travel.

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Reports: First death from meteorite impact recorded in India

Martin
FAIL

First fatility?

The dinosaurs might argue with you about that, except that they all died as a result of a meteorite strike 65 million years ago.

First human fatality, perhaps. Though that rather dazzling web site referenced above seems to indicate that even that statement is dubious.

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Don't Fedex your tapes, people! We're so fast it's SANdulous – WANrockIT

Martin
FAIL

Is this an article or an advert?

Bridgeworks says this "performance makes off-site tape replication into a realistic and attractive proposition for organisations of all sizes," and that would certainly seem to be true.

Where on earth is your usual cynicism, El Reg?

Replace "and that would certainly seem to be true" with "but I for one would like to see these results repeated by someone else before I was in any way convinced."

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Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

Martin

Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

How about a Chromebook? Some of those are really good now. And if you want Linux, use Crouton.

OK, you won't have 500GB disk space; but if you can manage without all that space (say with a NAS or similar) then you're fine.

You never know - you might actually LIKE using Chromeos as well.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Martin

I remember my very FIRST intermittent issue....

I was still at school, in the early seventies. It was a BASIC program which typed out (on a Teletype!) a horserace commentary based on a simulated horserace. It obviously needed a sort to decide which horse was leading, which I wrote myself.

It worked fine most of the time, and I'd have my friends all watching, cheering on their horses. But every so often, it froze - just stopped dead. Took me a while to discover that my handcrafted bubble sort had a bug - it used a >= instead of a > - which meant that if two numbers were the same, it swapped them, and the sort never finished.....

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How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

Martin

Re: At least y'all get paid

Just one more reason to persuade your aged rellies that Chromebooks are the answer. Then they can't install alternative launchers.

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Martin
Headmaster

Re: Of mice and men

"I hate meeses to pieces!" was actually Mr Jinks, referring to Pixie and Dixie. Sylvester's arch-nemesis was Tweety-bird.

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Evil OpenSSH servers can steal your private login keys to other systems – patch now

Martin
WTF?

Re: Private key on the server??? @John Robson

Well, it's too late now - but if it was never implemented on the server, how come it was the default on the client??

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David Bowie: Musician, actor... tech admirer

Martin

Re: @Grikath Will anyone wheel out dusty Win98 CDs when Gates and Ballmer cash in their chips?

It should also be noted that if Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer hadn't done what they did, someone else would have. We'd still be using personal computers and cellphones; it's just that it would perhaps have been Digital Research or Borland or someone else who would have written the ubiquitous operating systems. (Or perhaps Sun Microsystems might have seen things better, and it would have worked better too.)

But if Bowie had never existed, we wouldn't have Ziggy Stardust or Station to Station or.....

I know which I think is more important, culturally.

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LogMeIn adds emergency break-in feature to LastPass

Martin
FAIL

Emergency access to the whole damn vault?

No-one will EVER get that from me until I am dead or incapacitated.

And my LastPass password and spare Yubikey is squirreled away somewhere in case that happens.

Beyond that - no way, not never, not for any reason.

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Day 2: Millions of HSBC customers still locked out of online banking

Martin
Happy

Really?

I am a First Direct customer and have been for ten years.

Their on-line facility is perfectly fine as far as I can see. What do you want different?

Their telephone system is also excellent, with generally very friendly and helpful staff - an exemplar of how a telephone help-desk should work.

Honestly - I don't work for them - I'm just a happy customer. It's difficult to believe that HSBC own them.

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Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

Martin
WTF?

Re: Two points to bear in mind....

Well, I guess the fact you paid EE £60 indicates you needed internet access in a shopping mall, but I'm still at a loss to understand what could be so important on the internet when you were shopping that it couldn't wait till later.

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How to solve a Rubik's Cube in five seconds

Martin

I wonder how many people have actually solved the cube?

Doing a cube fast is an impressive feat of dexterity and memory. But it's only dexterity and memory. Is it really that big a deal that a fourteen-year-old can do it in five seconds? I wonder if he actually solved the cube himself, as opposed to finding out how it was done on the internet?

The vast majority of people I know who can do the cube have not actually solved it - they were just taught. In my day, it was via a photocopied crib sheet or a book; nowadays, it's on the internet.

I solved the cube - I actually solved it, from scratch, without recourse to help of any kind - back in 1981. It took me about three months. And yes, I found it useful to dismantle the cube and rebuild it. The algorithms I worked out are not efficient - but because I worked them out myself, they are well and truly stuck in my mind. I can still pick up a cube and do it. Normally takes me about five minutes.

So, I wonder how many people world-wide have actually solved the cube, rather than just learned how to do it from some other source? I wouldn't be surprised if it's a few thousand at most.

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iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Martin
FAIL

This is incomprehensible.

We are talking about a bunch of figures which need to be entered accurately to ensure the plane gets off the ground safely.

a) The figures presumably have been calculated, and exist on some computer somewhere. Why the hell do they have to be transferred by hand into a iPad? Why can't they be transferred by some software system?

b) Even if we assume that they have to be typed in by hand, who the HELL thought using a touch-screen rather than a keyboard was a sensible idea?

I'm surely missing something. Surely no-one in their right minds would believe that this is a sensible and safe way of doing things.

Would they?

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Drunk driver live-streams her slow journey home

Martin
WTF?

Re: What a stupid thing to do ...

I don't know much about Periscope - it's nothing I would be interested in. So I'm not sure how it works.

Is that title something she actually put into Periscope before the video started? Did she actually put up a live-streaming video onto the public internet which she labelled "Driving home drunk"?

Is it really possible that someone could be that incomprehensibly stupid, even when drunk?

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Ubuntu 15.10: More kitten than beast – but beware the claws

Martin
FAIL

Yay - magic disappearing scrollbars.

My favourite recent example of the victory of aesthetics over functionality.

And what's really depressing is that, not so long ago, we Linux nerds were able to point and laugh at, say, Vista and say "Well, you'll never get anything on Linux sacrificing functionality for looks."

I need a "sad penguin" icon.

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Audi, Seat, Skoda admit they've been fiddling car pollution tests as well

Martin
Happy

Re: Of != Have

May I of one have whatever you're smoking please?

Have course you may!

Thanks to all of you for the support. Perhaps I'll start a campaign.

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Martin
Headmaster

Re: Never mind the fines, think of the SAVINGS

This may of been set to test the engine.

No, no, no!

This may HAVE been set to test the engine.

Or, so that it sounds like what you've written...

This may've been set to test the engine.

But please, please - not "may of".

This particularly egregious error is becoming increasingly prevalent - I'm really scared that in ten years time it will become acceptable.

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